Creativity is inherently mysterious. We can give it a definition, or we can agree on specific benchmarks of creativity, but we can never accurately ascertain its very essence. We can practice it or, at the very least, aim for it, but we can never easily standardize creative thinking and its requisite triggers.
Although we are able to eventually recognize a creative or masterful work—the brainchild of an individual who has suddenly received a stroke of brilliance—we will never be able to pinpoint the exact course of such creative force or inspiration. In some ways, this apparent carelessness on our part with regards to where creativity truly lies and how it pursues its own progress is quite beneficial to humanity—at least we are able to enjoy and appreciate its ephemeral quality, as opposed to getting lulled by its permanence.
Now the question is, is it possible to consciously trigger creative thinking? While others are more inclined to believe that creative thinking comes in a whimsical fashion to individuals who are more blessed than others, it is best to still keep a certain degree of optimism that creativity can be learned and nurtured. Especially if one belongs to a competitive organization running a high-stake business, consistent creative thinking is an essential competence that cannot be relegated into a mere chance or coincidence.
One way to trigger creative thinking is to feel dissatisfied or restless toward the current standards. Just because something regarded as ‘familiar’ has existed for the longest time does not mean it should be ignored. The more constructive way to deal with an unsatisfactory routine, situation, practice, or idea, is to gain full awareness of it. It is only when one is already equipped with a keen perception of current realities when he or she is able to fashion novel means to see these realities, en route to creating a new set of belief systems aimed at augmenting what is present and what may very well be obsolete.
They key to creative thinking is to consciously allow oneself to assess points of interests from different perspectives. This would be one way that participants develop creative thinking skills For example, within the context of a professional environment, organizational roles, rules, and functions can be reevaluated using multiple vantage points, and through exhaustion of perceptions from employees hailing from all possible backgrounds. Through this process, stakeholders—leaders and managers specifically, can then delineate which systems deserve to be maintained and which ones ought to be re-tailored or, at the very least, reinforced.
Furthermore, adequate processing of ideas is crucial to the process of creative thinking. It is not enough to collect new insights and perspectives. The more challenging task is determining which of these actually has the most potential, hence should be developed. This step entails using reliable references such as available data, with utmost objectivity.
In the end, creativity begins with a deliberate effort to think creatively. Once an individual develops a habit of thinking driven by a potent sense of purpose and with hopes for greatness, creative thinking can then become an exercise of acquired competence. We have seen mankind’s greatest innovators begin from scratch and eventually reap the rewards of their persistent creativity. It is about time we jump into the fray.
Nicholas Hill, a modern thought leader, and international Trainer of strategic leadership skills and management development, the Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd.